Sabarimala Temple – Activist Attacked With Pepper Spray

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On the 26th of November, the Kochi Police arrested a Hindu Helpline activist for attacking a woman activist who was on her way to visit the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

Bindu Ammini from Kerala was on her way to the temple when Srinath Padmanabhan, the Hindu Helpline activist, attacked her with pepper spray outside the office of the Police Commissioner in Kochi.

Soon, a video of the incident went viral.  In the video, Bindu could be seen hiding her face and escaping as the Srinath Padmanabhan attacked her.

Ms. Ammini was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital and then the Kochi Police shifted her to an undisclosed location.

Ammini, along with Trupti Desai, a Pune based activist, sought police protection until they finish the trek to the shrine of Lord Ayappa.

Activist Trupti Desai, who is in Kerala, said, “We’ll visit Sabarimala temple today on Constitution Day. Neither the state government nor the police can stop us from visiting the temple. Whether we get security or not we will visit the temple today.”  She further added, “I will leave Kerala only after offering prayers at the shrine.”

After the Supreme Court lifted the ban on women’s entry in Sabarimala temple, this is the second time Ms. Desai is trying to visit the temple.  The SC lifted the ban in 2018 but later decided to reconsider its verdict. In the last hearing, on the 14th of November 2019, the Court said it is going to seek suggestions from a larger bench of 7 judges.

However, as the verdict does not restrict the entry of women as of now, many women activists and women’s rights’ leaders are planning to visit the temple.  So far, no woman between the ages of 10 and 50 entered the shrine.

The Sabarimala temple opened on the 16th of November for 2 months on account of the Mandala Pooja festival.


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